Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Watching Paint Dry

I have never understood why people compare boredom to "watching paint dry". I mean, seriously, who the hell watches paint dry? Haven't you heard of television or a book for that matter? Having said that, these last few days have been like watching paint dry for me! I really do not know what to do with this unexpected free time. I wake up at 8, hit the gym for 90 mins and then the rest of my day is empty.

This is entirely new territory for me, what should I do with this time. I could do what I am supposed to do; pack, but packing is worse than watching paint dry. Besides if its not the last minute, then its not T.

I know I am whingeing and some people are thinking "bitch, I would love a few days off" but that's different. When we take a few days off, we make plans, go on holiday, hibernate in the bedroom with our significant other etc. But every one I know is working so there is no one to play with me. boo hoo.

Ok, I am getting a grip.

On a totally random note, I was talking to a friend of mine who happens to work in HR in a large international firm, and we started talking about weird interview questions and answers. I interviewed grads for the first time a couple of weeks ago. There was supposed to be two of us but there was some accident at Liverpool st and my partner was delayed. Anyway so I was interviewing this final year Cambridge student. Nothing to write home about, he was average looking, etc. But when we started the interview I noticed that he had the most amazing green eyes and by the end of the interview I could not recall a single thing about the dude. Feeling guilty I put him through only to be told off because apparently he wasn't the most articulate fellow (putting it mildly).

Anyway, this friend of mine tells me about a trick question that they throw in, usually when the poor guy/girl is in the middle of a sentence. At the first assessment centre where they piloted the question, they were apparently so disappointed with the answers they got that they only put one person through.

Question: Would you sell your soul to us in exchange for this job.

Some people answered yes, why? Because they wanted the job really badly. They didn't get through

Some said no because they believe that integrity i important and some things are priceless. They didn't get very far either.

But that one guy, apparently, on hearing the question, put his hands behind his head and said "In a heart beat"

When asked why, he answered "Well to be honest I don't know what my soul is worth right now but working for you or indeed any corporate law firm it's value is bound to depreciate. Based on this assumption, I would have no choice but to take advantage of an offer that hedges the inevitable depreciation. They guy was obviously a sharp guy, and he was African (not sure what county though)!!!

That is without a doubt the weirdest question I think I have ever heard? Does anyone have a weird question that they were asked at an interview?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Dinner with Mr Brown

Ok so I finally gave my notice, After the usual "Is there anything we can do to change your mind" song and dance, they wished me well and asked me to clear my desk. We arranged a date for my debriefing and I turned my back on the place that had been my home for so long.

I hadn't planned on giving notice until just before Christmas, but I need some time to process all these things, to pack properly and to just chill out before I move. Now that I have no fall back plan, this move is seeming more reckless than exciting, but I am still young and if there was ever a time to take risks, it is now!

Guys I am sorry oh, it was never my intention to leave you hanging in regards to Mr Brown, its just that I was literally updating and dashing out.....

So I met up with Mr Brown and he was still very polite and unassuming. I was really thrown by his behaviour that it made me awkward.

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming
Me: No problem, It sounded kinda urgent, whats the matter?
Mr Brown: I am sorry if I made it seem like life or death, but I just wanted some advice, Its about my sister.
Mr Brown's sister is a legend unto herself, I knew her before I knew him and I didn't make the connection for a long time. On paper she is amazing, all the right schools, all the right grades, all the right internships. Even in person she looks/acts capable and competent. Okay, to be fair, I heard that she is pretty good at her job. But here is where it gets murky, Miss Brown is a total slut. I don't use this word very often but in her case I will make an exception. She has slept with half of the trading floor and is still working her way through the list. According to the rumour mill, she was caught in a very compromising situation with one of the big bosses. I really can't stand her, she may do a good job but she just makes it harder for herself too be taken seriously.

Me: Oh, whats the matter with your sister?

Mr Brown: You don't have to feign ignorance, I know you know what she has been doing, everybody knows, except for me it seems.

Me: Your sister is an adult and there really isn't anything that anyone can do.

Mr Brown: She is pregnant, she doesn't know who for, she wants to keep it. She wants to make my family a laughing stock.

Me: So what do you think I can do ?

Mr Brown: Talk to her, she seems to respect you, she always talks about you as if you are a superstar, In fact, she is the reason I met you.

Me: Oh?

Mr Brown: Ok, not the first time, which I cannot apologise enough for

Me: Water under the bridge

Mr Brown: But the time after that, the reason I decided to use you guys, to specifically request you. I just had to meet you.

Me: So did I live up to your somewhat exaggerated expectations?

Mr Brown: No, You exceeded it.

I hid my smile.

Me: Back to your sister, to be honest there is nothing I can do, I am flattered that she thinks so highly of me but she is a grown ass woman and she needs to make her decisions by herself. The only person that will have to live with it is her.

Mr Brown: And me of course, and my poor mother who I haven't told yet.

Me: So what exactly do you want me to do?

Mr Brown: Tell her that having a baby will ruin her career, that you had to make sacrifices too

My people, my guilty conscience at this point made my ears burn.

Me: Sacrifices? What sacrifices do you know that I made?

Mr Brown: I don't know I am sure you will think of something.

Me: Look, I really don't want to waste your time, so let me just say this, there is no way that I can convince your sister to get an abortion because it is none of my business. I don't even like the girl.... Oops
I am sorry, I really didn't mean to say that.


Mr Brown: No, there is no need to apologise, speak freely.

Me: We don't have to have dinner you know, we could just go.

Mr Brown; Now why would we do that?

Me: I don't know, we have concluded our talk.....

Mr Brown; No, I am starving lets eat, unless you'd rather...

Me: I am hungry as well. Ok, lets eat.

Me: So, how is Hanatu?

Mr Brown: Who?

Me: What do you mean who? My friend, the one that you met at the poetry open mic,

Mr Brown: Well, why would I know how she is ?

Me: Didn't you exchange numbers, didn't you guys go out?

Mr Brown; No, we didn't but its interesting how interested you seem in my love life

Tinuke don't you dare blush! I didn't even bother to try and figure out why Hanatu had lied...

Me: Look, I am making conversation...

Mr Brown: easy tiger, I am just teasing.

I wanted to tell him about my new job, I wanted his advice, He was familiar with that territory. But I couldn't, he was doing business with my firm and I wasn't ready to have the news get out.

Me: How many sisters and brothers do you have?

Mr Brown: just the one, that's why I am trying to make sure she turns out right. You?

Me: Just the one, a brother.


After Dinner, Mr Brown offers me a ride home, I accept. sitting in his car, with him in such close proximity, I am hit by a lot of conflicting feelings. As if this wasn't confusing enough, his scent was distracting me from my thoughts and......

Mr Brown: Tinu, Tinu.

Me: Oh? Yes

Mr Brown, Are you ok, you seemed lost in another world

Me:, I was just running through my plans for tomorrow.

Mr Brown: You're home.

As I gather my things together, Mr Brown gets out of the car,

Mr Brown: Well that was fun, wasn't it?

Me: Yes, yes it was.

He leant in and I held my breath,

"Goodnight Tinu" He whispered in my ear as he barely kissed my cheek.

Me: Goodnight. Relieved that he hadn't tried to kiss me

At least I think it was relief

Saturday, 8 December 2007


As promised, Here is a rundown of the last few weeks, I know I promised a long post but I am literally writing this and running out the door (e ma bi nu oh).

New job:

Let me start with my biggest news; I am moving to Saudi. It all started a few months ago when I was approached at a networking event, I didn't think anything of it as these things are always filled with totally drunk traders/bankers who have the tendency to (as we say) yarn dust. Anyway, this guy is telling me about some restructuring going on in a middle eastern trading house and that I should email him my cv. So I do. If it turned out that he was not serious then I haven't really lost anything.

Next thing I knew I was going for a meeting in the UAE. The actual post was in Saudi so we flew by private jet (me too I was tripped) to meet my new team. The ratio of men to women was appaling but I like a challenge. The offer was too good to refuse but I needed time to think. I love my present job and the people I work with but the offer was too good not to take the chance. I still haven't told anyone at work yet. The day I give notice is teh day I have to clear my desk and I guess I am not ready yet. I dont actually move until after christmas so I am bidding my time.

I am soooo nervous about this move, but excited as well. Wish me luck guys!

Conversation with My Father:

So I decided to go see my dad, it was a Wednesday so my mum was at bible study. As I went passed the stop on the tube that would have taken me to my house and away from confrontation, I braced myself. I had no idea what I was going to say or how I was going to start. Who knew when I woke up that morning that I would be doing this come evening. It began like any other day.

I was having lunch with a friend of mine, Blue eyes is like my best guy pal, and Brad Pitt aint got nothing on him, no lie! We went to university together and were both serious library geeks. He followed me, or was it me that followed him.... Anyway, we wound up working at the same bank and we try to have lunch at least twice a week. The thing with blue eyes is that he is a real geek, through and through. He walks around oblivious to the stares and the girls going gaga over him. But he’s cool peeps, even though for a while I thought he was gay. Don’t blame me oh! How many men do you know will spend a whole day shopping with a girl and still be enthusiastic enough at the end of it to suggest that we pop into Russell and Bromley “because they had a pair of shoes in the window that would go nicely with that dress?”

So we are having lunch and we start talking about the hideous alligator shoes one of our bosses was wearing that day. No doubt it cost hundreds of pounds but if the alligators new the monstrosity that they would be turned into..... anyway Luther vandross’s “dance with my father came on and we both listen to it in silence, that song always leaves me with mixed feelings, it a beautiful song but I still wish he hadn’t written it. Blue eyes sighs and says “this song reminds me that the last time I saw my dad, I was walking out on him in anger, It was over a stupid car, next thing I know mums on the phone telling me that he was gone” We talked for a little while longer then we went back to work.

As soon as I got to my desk, I picked up the phone and dialled the number from memory. He picked up after a few rings. So here I was on the tube a few stops away from my family home, telling myself that I could just get off at the next stop and go home. A few stops later I got off and started to walk to my parents house, the walk usually took like 8 mins in a sprint. I was walking slowly and for what seemed like one or two minutes, yet here I was at the front door. I reached for the bell.

My mum was at bible study, but then I knew that she would be. I sat on the sofa and watched TV, my dad was eating his dinner. It used to be a joke, when we could laugh with each other, that my dad could not eat his food in one sitting. He started to eat, the made a call, then checked football scores, then ate some more, then another call, it usually took him about an hour to finish eating. I smiled as I watched him answer a phone call while trying to swallow a mouth full of food. At last he was finished. He came and sat on the sofa opposite me and “princess, you have my attention”
I took a deep breath.

2 hours later, I called a cab and went home

Sitting in the cab I felt a little lighter, I got home, ran a bath and then curled up in bed. When I woke up, I text my dad “good morning”

I guess we have to start somewhere...

My Date with the Dentist:

Despite all the pleas to go to the dentist and all the tears from the pain, Tinuke still couldn't bring her self to make that trip.

My friend calls me and tries to arrange lunch, I tell her I am working through mine, she insists. I figured she had something imprtant to talk to me about so I went. Thats how they ambushed me and hauled my ass to the dentist. As it turns out, it was no where as bad as I remembered and the discomfort paled in comparison to what I had been going through just bcause I was a fraidy cat. So I think my fear of dentists is a thing of the past (fingers crossed)

Mr Brown:

A few days after I went for my interview, I get a call from Mr Brown. I was polite but curt and after establishing that his call was in no way work related, I told him I was busy.

"Oh, erm I didn't mean to take you away from your work. I will let you get back to it" he says

This new unsure of himself Mr Brown was a revelation, and it kind of threw me. I immediately felt bad for dismissing him..

"Okay, I guess I can spare 5 mins, what can I do for you"

5 minutes later, I had agreed to have dinner with this guy, I don't even know how that came about. I know how to handle an arrogant Mr Brown, but this polite, nervous one? Well that was a whole new ball game.

After work, I hailed a cab to the Royal Exchange and in the cab, I pulled out my mirrow to apply a fresh coat of lipgloss. "Hot date?" the cabbie asks.

"No, work dinner" I answered, though it was really none of his business, was I really trying to convince him or myself?

Iknow it feels like I am rushing through this story. I will blog a bit more indpeth in a little while. I am packing, interviewing grads, looming deadlines and it just feels like there just isnt enough hours in the day.